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Education Microsoft The Almighty Buck United States News

Gates Paying Murdoch For System To Track U.S. Kids' School Progress 182

theodp writes "Discussing U.S. education in his 2012 Annual Letter, Bill Gates notes the importance of 'tools and services [that] have the added benefit of providing amazing visibility into how each individual student is progressing, and generating lots of useful data that teachers can use to improve their own effectiveness.' Well, Bill is certainly putting his millions where his mouth is. The Gates Foundation has ponied up $76.5 million for a controversial student data tracking initiative that's engaged Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation to 'build the open software that will allow states to access a shared, performance-driven marketplace of free and premium tools and content.' If you live in CO, IL, NC, NY, MA, LA, GA, or DE, it's coming soon to a public school near you."
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Gates Paying Murdoch For System To Track U.S. Kids' School Progress

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  • Re:Shitstorm inc. (Score:4, Informative)

    by stewart4t2 ( 1443697 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:35AM (#38857405)
    I do believe that's counted as a feature.
  • by sandytaru ( 1158959 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:46AM (#38857481) Journal
    We did already have this. It was called report cards, and when I was in K-12 school, it got sent home on paper with me once every six weeks so my parents could look at it and see how I was doing and if necessary ground me for not paying attention in school.
  • This is dangerous (Score:5, Informative)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:55AM (#38857541)

    Learning is an individual process. Strong focus on "metrics" hinders progress and produces educated morons that can score high on tests but cannot do anything else well and do not have any real understanding on how things work. One reason is that the metrics typically used strongly promote learning facts without understanding them. The only place such people can perform well is on bureaucracies, i.e. in jobs where their main task is to decrease the performance of others. This technology allows even better implementation of that fallacy.

    The only way to improve education is by improving the teachers. And, yes, that means firing bad and mediocre teachers and hiring good ones. Of course they will be more expensive and will need significant freedom to teach as they see fit, i.e. no parent influence. (A single moron parent can ruin a whole course if they are given influence....) Nothing of that sort seems likely to happen in a country so backwards that evolution is actually a disputed subject.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @11:59AM (#38857583)

    From experience made in the field of learning metrics, this usually produces teaching that increases test scores, but fails real the learning goals, i.e. producing insights and capabilities. This is well known. Looks like Gates failed to do any real research on the subject. Not a surprise and in line with his usual level of "insight". The only thing Gates can do well is amoral and borderline criminal business practices.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:01PM (#38857595)

    Murdoch is scum. The only thing he cares about is power. He is completely fine with hurting lots of people if that increases his power.

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:31PM (#38858263)

    Is it just me, or shouldn't we already have this by hiring competent, caring, understanding educators in the first place?

    I know one of those - a special ed teacher. She truly loves her kids and and does whatever she can to help them; but she is caught in system that says she *must* teach the same curriculum as for regular ed kids. Never mind that her kids, after a week of teaching them the color red, forget what it is as soon as they learn blue; she must teach a specified curriculum. The kids do not have to learn it, she must however prove she exposed them to each part of it. So, instead of being taught skills they can use in life they sit through lessons that they'll never remember. She tries hard to make them interesting and appropriate, but it is frustrating. I would not be surprised when she qualifies for retirement she decides to quit and do something else; not because she doesn't like teaching or isn't good at it but the system seems to be designed to make it a miserable experience. Add in pay cuts despite signing a contract at the start of the year and parents who expect 24 by 7 availability (she gets emails on Christmas and New Years Day) and it's no wonder teachers leave the profession or simply give up and coast to retirement.

    We truly do not value education; and in the end get what we deserve.

  • by JosephTX ( 2521572 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @02:18PM (#38858573)
    This is the common sentiment among older generations, yet younger generations regularly score higher on tests that previous generations have taken; kids today have to learn alot more than you did, so you'll have to forgive your kid for not knowing how to use a slide-rule since he's busy learning calculus instead. If you think kids today are "lazy" or have it too easy because they aren't doing the lab exercises you're talking about, that's because they're too busy learning about the various discoveries in chemistry and biology since your days in school to waste a whole day on a pointless lab demonstration. Not ALL teenagers are the delinquents the previous generation hears about on the news. Also, most kids in my high school DIDN'T get A's; even though everyone SAID they got A's, just looking at the roster showed most ended up with B's or C's, and even so, "the masses" were in non-honors classes, where an A isn't given as much credit as an A in an Honors class. So Gym class today is pointless and an obligatory A. Don't like it? Your kid shouldn't even be in Gym class to begin with; sign him up for a computer science class instead. The only one at blame for that is you. It seems generally-accepted for your generation to criticize your children's generation (except your kids! they're angels), but guess what? your parents' generation did the same thing. And my generation will do the same thing. And who, exactly, will be the ones doing this criticizing? "The masses" who lack such basic skills like self-judgment or humility. The same not-so-intelligent type of person you complain about, and the same type of person you've shown yourself to be.
  • by steelframe ( 590694 ) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @02:40PM (#38858675)
    Murdoch is Catholic, unless you read Stormfront or Ron Paul newsletters.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle